To secure – this short podcast on the language of football introduces the phrase, ‘to secure’, and words that this verb is used with in football. Check out the transcript of the show below. You also make sure you check out our huge glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. Teachers of English can use the audio and transcript to provide practice for their students, too. Try a gap-fill activity for example. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

Learn English Through Football

DB: Hi there, everybody. Welcome to languagecaster and our football language podcast. Damian in London and myself in Tokyo have been publishing these podcasts since 2006. That was way back during the World Cup in Germany. Of course, we’ve just had the 2022 version of the World Cup, but football never stops and national teams around the world have been taking part in qualifiers for competitions this month, including in Europe.

Teams are hoping to secure a berth in the Euro 2024 competition. It is this verb, to secure, that we will focus on today. It’s used in a variety of ways with different words, so let’s get started. But before we do, here is a message from a Norwegian fan of football.

secureStinger: You are listening to (in Norwegian)

DB: Brilliant! Thanks for that ‘you are listening to languagecaster’ message in Norwegian.

(to) Secure

DB: OK, let’s take a look at the verb secure and how I used it in the introduction to the show – to secure a berth.

To secure, means to get, to reserve, to obtain, and berth is a place, or spot, so secure a berth in the Euro 2024 competition means to get a place in the tournament, to qualify.

We also use ‘secure ‘ with other words, too. Let’s look at the Women’s Super League in England and this season, which is coming to an exciting end. Back in February, we had this in a report in Forbes:

“Perhaps more importantly, they (Manchester United) are now six clear of Arsenal in fourth place as they seek to secure a top-three place and a berth in next season’s UEFA Champions League.”

Embed from Getty Images

(to) Secure a place

So, here we have the verb used with a place in the league, a top-three place. And the report also uses berth in the UEFA Champion’s League, so we have both uses: secure a place (in the league) and secure a berth (in a competition). Notice with place, or spot, the use of the position, so top-three place. In the men’s Premier League, team’s try to secure a top-four spot, and a top-six spot is usually enough for European football

(to) secure points

And this month, March, we have this example in

“Goals from Ashleigh Neville and Drew Spence helped secure all three points at the King Power Stadium.”

So, the goals scored by Tottenham players Neville and Spence secured, or won, got, all three points for their team against Leicester. We could say secure a win, or secure a draw too.

So, this verb is used with berth, place (or spot) and points (or win and draw). Is there any other verb we can use to mean the same thing? First, another message.

Stinger: You are listening to (Catalan)

(to) Earn

DB: And that message was in Catalan. OK, another way to say ‘secure‘ is ‘to earn‘. For example, this headline from “Chelsea lead; Arsenal and Man United held; Liverpool earn vital win.” So Liverpool earned three points. We can also use ‘earn’ to talk about getting a place in a tournament or a position in a league, too. I know that the team I support, Liverpool, are desperate to earn a top-four finish for example!


DB: OK, it’s nearly the end of the show. We looked at the verb ‘secure‘ and its alternative ‘earn‘. They can both be used to talk about winning: earn a win. And you can also use them to talk about getting into a competition: secure a spot in. And finally, both can be used with league position: earn a top-four place.

Contact us if you want to ask any football-language questions, have comments, or simply want to say hello at or by using our forum at You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow and retweet, etc. Spread the word!

Remember also we have a transcript for the show. Come along to the site and you can read and listen. Or if you’re a teacher you could use the transcript to make some cool activities.


DB: That’s it for now. We’ll be back soon. Enjoy all of the football. Ta-ra!

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Free football language podcast for learners of English brought to you by Damian and Damon. Interviews, match reviews, predictions all with full language support for football fans around the world who wish to improve their English language skills.

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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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Euro2024Episode 1056